Featured / News / January 15, 2020

SMC A-Core opens to students

A reconstructed skeleton of a fin whale greets students that enter the west entrance of SMC’s new library and lounge located in the A-Core. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

The newly-renovated SMC A-Core opened on the first day of classes as construction workers put in last minute touches. Students are enjoying exploring and using the new space.
Demolition and construction began in November of 2018 and lasted through the winter of 2019. Scott Maust, Director of Facility Services, said all that’s left is lighting for the whale, some push and pull signs for doors and a precast for the stairs that had to be reordered.
SMC A-Core now features large windows, a balcony with study spaces under the whale and sleek, modern decor throughout the wing. Walking around the central library on the first floor and classrooms on the second floor, students can find several whiteboards, walk under the whale skeleton and peek into rooms mostly encased in glass.
Minnie Kang, junior, and Melody Eng, senior, recalled what the wing had looked like before the renovations. The most prominent features in their minds were “the pits.” The pits were lecture halls unlike any other on campus. Kang described them as being set up like auditoriums with stadium-style seating.
“A-Core was basically a very, very big lecture hall,” Eng said. “Nothing too exciting. When you walked in, you knew immediately that it was just going to be a large classroom for a lecture.”
Kang and Eng both enjoy the renovations. Kang’s new favorite study spot is beneath the whale on the balcony. Eng is excited to have so many different spaces to study in.
“It’s a beautiful, usable space, and we’ve been needing this for a long time,” Eng said.

Kang was surprised that a new elevator wasn’t built in A-Core, especially considering complaints about Knox’s lack of accessibility. Other than that, Kang has only struggled with the color of the doors changing. She and Eng used to be able to navigate SMC based on the color of the doors to the wings, but both admitted this wouldn’t be a problem in the long run.

Eng worries that there may not be enough space for everyone who wants to study in A-Core when midterms and finals roll around. She’s also concerned that the new technology may cause some problems as students and staff adjust to the brand new equipment.

Kang, Eng and Maust have all noticed more activity in the building following the renovations. Maust takes the use of the newly-renovated area as a good sign. Maust looks forward to renovating the rest of the building.

Sarah Eitel

Tags:  fin whale smc renovation whale whale skeleton

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